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This 211 message thread spans 8 pages: < < 211 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 > >     
Learning About PR Sculpting: internal links with rel=nofollow
tootricky




msg:3798145
 10:32 am on Dec 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

< Note: this thread begins with posts that were split out
from another thread: Experiments in keyword rich links to Home [webmasterworld.com] >

Could you say that the introduction of the nofollow attribute has allowed Google to implement more strict borders for over optimisation? Now we can nofollow "home" links without removing them as a user feature and Google has left us no excuse to have over optimised sites!

Nofollow is a blessing and a curse!

[edited by: tedster at 9:27 am (utc) on Dec. 10, 2008]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

 

mattinertia




msg:3804150
 10:54 am on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hi Guys,
Jumping in a bit late on this one...

When nofollow appeared on wordpress comments and such I tested the effectiveness of it very simply. I added a new, orphaned page to my site. It had content and all the usual "stuff" that any web page would have. I then added a dozen or so comments to big, well indexed, nofollow blogs. All these blog comments had the same completely unique anchor text which corresponded to the content on the destination page. So the whole set-up looked legit. The comments were ALL nofollowed...

I sat back and waited, and waited, and waited... and Google still hasnt found the page 12 months later! The page does not appear for the link text and if you search the above anchor text you'll see that my seo forum posts and blog comments are all indexed -- but no orphaned page!

However... I still see nofollow links in GWT... which contradicts the whole bloody theory behind nofollow! But GWT is sketchy at the best of times so im going to say im 90% certain that Google does not follow, cache, transfer PR or acknowledge the anchor text of nofollow links.

Its worth mentioning that Yahoo on the other hand DID follow the links and index the page. MSN on the other hand reacted in the same way as Google.

Another theory that ive heard from people is that "nofollow links are all equal, but some are more equal than others". Ive heard people swear on their lives that Wiki links do help with rankings! This gives us an other theory that Google ignores some nofollows but acknowledges others? So maybe the effectiveness of nofollow is somehow linked to the trust factor of the site its being used on?

I know non of the above is conclusive but if i have to choose then id definitely say that what google (matt c) says about the way they handle nofollows is true.

With regards to the pr sculpting thing, you should be able to do most of it with robots.txt and robots meta. In my experience, most sites have 2 types of pages -- ones that will rank, are content rich and keyword orientated and the ones that are just user related, low content pages that WILL end up in the supplemental results. So...

[edited by: tedster at 11:01 am (utc) on Dec. 10, 2008]

whitenight




msg:3804155
 11:06 am on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Or an actual real person clicked the nofollow link, and had the toolbar installed. Or did it from Chrome.

Within a week it would not be indexed again.

Easy test.
Go to a well-known website with a rel=nofollowed "about us" or "privacy" etc pages with Chrome.
MAKE SURE it isn't indexed (unique text is best).
Check back in 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month to see if indexed.

I don't see how they are. Following a link is not the same as passing vlaue thorugh that link as far asI am concerned.

Gotta run the suggested test as given. :)

If you're lucky, you can simply check Yahoo site explorer to see the links to those pages that were "found". They are there somewhere.

A true example of the test would be to create 2 brand new pages linked together but only the first one linked to from the main site. With your logic, the second new page would not be indexed, it this correct?

You can run this test and 2nd, 3rd, 5th generation tests to see affects between various sites/pages.
I recommend it.

It's why I was so adamant about my theories in the "Bought link rel=nofollow FUD announcement of '07"...but that's waaay too complicated for this thread at this point.

whitenight




msg:3804159
 11:09 am on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

However... I still see nofollow links in GWT... which contradicts the whole bloody theory behind nofollow! But GWT is sketchy at the best of times so im going to say im 90% certain that Google does not follow, cache, transfer PR or acknowledge the anchor text of nofollow links.

Yea, this is Google trying to FUD webmasters once again.
First they don't show ALL links, then they show nofollowed in GWT.
Sad really.

Those nofollowed links aren't followed.

mattinertia




msg:3804161
 11:13 am on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Just a caveat to the site owners who get rewarded with site links. You might be best leaving your about us page open to indexing. For company name searches especially, this page SHOULD be coming up in your site links. Same thing applies to contact pages.
m2c

[edited by: mattinertia at 11:14 am (utc) on Dec. 10, 2008]

tedster




msg:3804162
 11:14 am on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

What Google keeps in their complete back end is not the same as what they let influence their PR and ranking calculations. And WMT is not gospel by a long shot - it's only a sometimes helpful bit of feedback. In fact, Webmaster Tools is really buggy and often disconnected from the production search data. WMT is just a reporting utility, and edge cases of various kinds can get mangled because it is not core functionality for Google.

So, if you add nofollow after a link was already there, then Google may well continue to show it in WMT. And in fact, nofollow links from other sites often get reported in WMT backlinks, too.

Google never said that they don't learn about the url from spidering the page where the nofollow link appears - heck, it IS a text string the source code, right? But they do drop it from the web graph, even if it was previously indexed, and no anchor text or link juice of any kind is passed through that link. But it can get "stuck" in WMT.

mattinertia




msg:3804165
 11:17 am on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

The fact that GWT is so dodgy is a BIG fail by G. They give with one hand and take with the other.

tootricky




msg:3804198
 12:33 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google never said that they don't learn about the url from spidering the page where the nofollow link appears - heck, it IS a text string the source code, right? But they do drop it from the web graph, even if it was previously indexed, and no anchor text or link juice of any kind is passed through that link. But it can get "stuck" in WMT.

Are you saying that pages that are linked to solely with nofollows are dropped from the index at some point? I definitely don't see this side of the attribute is my site links: Pages that have existed in the index that are then subsequently nofollowed, carry on being indexed and also cached. Or am I not understanding your explanation.

The fac that WMT still shows links that are completely broken even 6 months after the fact is worrying. I really only use it to loosely determine which new links are appearing as it is a little more responsive than YE. For any other link research or montiroing its YE all the way. GMW needs an API for the whole thing to sort it out (I understand that they only offer a portion of the thing in the API); the information is there for us to use but it is poorly and unreliably presented.

maximillianos




msg:3804219
 1:20 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

PR Sculpting = PR Spamming

Using "NoFollow" and "Internal Link" in the same sentence is an oxymoron.

My rule of thumb: No internal links will ever have a no-follow.

NoFollow was created (as I understand it) to combat spam. [Wikipedia definition: It is intended to reduce the effectiveness of certain types of search engine spam, thereby improving the quality of search engine results and preventing spamdexing from occurring.]

Why on earth would you ever want to tell a search engine that you are knowingly harboring internal spam pages on your site?

Yes, I know the argument of trying to game SERPs by decreasing values of some pages and increasing values of others. But that (again, to me) is just another form of gaming search engines by abusing NoFollow.

In my opinion, anyone who uses NoFollow internally is attempting to game the search results, which will lead you down a path of problems in the LONG RUN.

Receptional Andy




msg:3804225
 1:33 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

anyone who uses NoFollow internally is attempting to game the search results

Potentially that's true in a lot of cases, maximillianos. But note that Google themselves recommend nofollow on links likely to cause their crawling and indexing processes problems. For instance:

If your site has an infinite calendar, add a nofollow attribute to links to dynamically created future calendar pages.

[google.com...]

Of course, "infinite calendar" is just one example of potentially problematic internal links.

wheel




msg:3804239
 1:46 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

PR sculpting using nofollow seems to be intent on pushing PR to certain pages and stopping bleed. And the purpose of that is to increase the ranking of certain pages right?

It seems that just getting more and better external links accomplishes the same thing, and is likely more stable. I can negate the effects of say a sitewide link to my sitemaps by just getting more external one way links to my other pages.

Plus, since you only have so much PR to sculpt, this technique is inherently limited. Getting more external links to sculpt your PR isn't limited that way at all.

Even if I believed in nofollow, and I don't, sculpting PR seems like a losers strategy for folks that can't build links.

tootricky




msg:3804241
 1:52 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

PR sculpting is part of a solution not the whole answer. If you are able to optimise the link juice you are receiving from outside sources without affecting the user experience then why the heck wouldn't you?

NoFollow was created (as I understand it) to combat spam. [Wikipedia definition: It is intended to reduce the effectiveness of certain types of search engine spam, thereby improving the quality of search engine results and preventing spamdexing from occurring.

By using nofollow on site I am improving the quality and relevance of my site in the index and improving the search engine results by diverting PR to the places that need it.

PR Sculpting = PR Spamming

No spam nor any other processed meat dishes need be involved! :PP

[edited by: tootricky at 2:10 pm (utc) on Dec. 10, 2008]

whitenight




msg:3804249
 1:57 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Even if I believed in nofollow, and I don't, sculpting PR seems like a losers strategy for folks that can't build links.

lol how dare you! Are you implying i don't know how to build links! =P
you know better wheel!

PR Sculpting = PR Spamming

PR sculpting in NO DIFFERENT than setting up a silo website or 2 tier site or Nth tier site.

As Shaddows said, proper initial site architecture USUALLY handles this.

But if "content is king" (ie constantly building more pages) and "external links aren't as limiting" (certain pages get more links than others NATURALLY)
Then
at a certain point, one is GOING to want to push some PR away from a page(s) that garnered entirely too much PR/links for where it needs to rank to ANOTHER page that needs help.

----------
Spamming? Really?

Gee, do you INTENTIONALLY link to relevant pages on your site from certain OTHER pages, knowing FULL WELL you are spreading PR and relevancy to those pages?
OR
Do you just willy-nilly let your visitors decide your site structure and what page is relevant/important to other pages?

Do you ACTUALLY link to NEW pages of content on your site from OLD pages or just let them be found accidentally thru random acts of God?!

By your definition, even creating a site structure that EMPHASIZES certain pages over others is spamming...

whitenight




msg:3804255
 2:13 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

i'm also assuming that no one has a blog that uses plugins that tell robots to ignore duplicate content or noindex/nofollow certain pages?

Is that "gaming" the engines as well?

mattinertia




msg:3804266
 2:22 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

PR sculpting = an afternoon tweaking/amending your website to efficiently send PR to the most important pages.

Link Building = weeks of work to achieve the same thing. Also, some of the juice from those links is being wasted so...

The best strategy... sculpt the flow of PR through your site and then do some link building! But if were going to take the moral high ground then isn't link building manipulating Googles algo as well? Aren't we all supposed to create great websites that attract natural links?

If you can do something which will knowingly improve your sites performance (and it does!) and within days! Then why wouldnt you? When nofollow was concieved, it was to eradicate spam linking in blog comments and such... It has evolved, like everything else.

Shaddows




msg:3804294
 3:08 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Why wouldn't you design your site to make efficient use of PR in the first place?

The only reason that I can see for PR sculpting is that the site was poorly designed in the first place. Now, I know many members work on OTHER PEOPLES SITES, or sites they acquired, or sites that otherwise existed before they started working on them. But I would have thought PR sculpting would then be a stop-gap measure, waiting for proper navigation to be implemented.

Link-building (by which I mean encouraging others to link to you, not buying, trading or otherwise deceiptfully acquiring links- see the link building forum [webmasterworld.com] for full details) is essential to SERP success. And the effort pays back over time.

Finally, PR is not the be-all and end-all of ranking, and I would venture it is less important in absolute terms than relavent links.

So, the two things that I personally (with due deference to the opinions of others) would use nofollow for:
1) My content that I'm ambivalent about or actively against being indexed. T&C, 'about', calenders etc. Places that I would also noindex anyway (see pageoneresults' earlier comments)
2) SOME off-site content (although I'd be happy to authority sites)

Otherwise, work on navigation and hierarchy.

[edited by: Shaddows at 3:10 pm (utc) on Dec. 10, 2008]

maximillianos




msg:3804313
 3:37 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Then at a certain point, one is GOING to want to push some PR away from a page(s) that garnered entirely too much PR/links for where it needs to rank to ANOTHER page that needs help.

Sounds like gaming the search engines to me... ;-)

By your definition, even creating a site structure that EMPHASIZES certain pages over others is spamming...

Not sure if you were responding to my comment (re: PR Sculpting = PR Spamming). But again, there is absolutely no need to PR sculpt. You should develop and grow you site as if PR does not exist. Any attempt to spread the love of a high ranking page to other less-popular pages is gaming the system... It is that simple.

tootricky




msg:3804323
 3:43 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Any attempt to spread the love of a high ranking page to other less-popular pages is gaming the system...

By that logic so is any type of link building as that is exactly what we want to achieve!

PR sculpting is just good house keeping imo

Just like:

Redirecting non-canonical domains to the correct one.
Redirecting index.php (or whatever) to root
robot out pages that spiders shouldn't see

which I'm guessing you do as a matter of course?

You can't control what peple link to or how they link to your site, but you can control how the link juice adds value to the site.

And as someone has said it is a quick fix, whereas a redesign can be anything but.

JS_Harris




msg:3804328
 3:53 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

This has become a very dangerous thread for the non experienced.

Better results can be had by interlinking your best articles together while lowering the number of links pointing to articles of lower importance.

The change that provides the biggest bang for your efforts is to REDUCE the number of links on your index page and to REMOVE any links that point right to an article from the index page.

Keep your index pagerank high with fewer links leaving it and interlink your articles to help lower category page PR, that's my best advice.

All this talk of using nofollow to accomplish what I've just described is like bringing an elephant gun to a rabbit hunt. When you know how to use nofollow you'll find yourself barely using it because your sites structure will already be strong.

mattinertia




msg:3804332
 3:55 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Some times I wonder if id be better off hanging out in the black hat forums?! Is PR sculpting gaming the SEs and therefore black hat...

Matt C Rand Interview:
# Does Google recommend the use of nofollow internally as a positive method for controlling the flow of internal link love?

* A) Yes webmasters can feel free to use nofollow internally to help tell Googlebot which pages they want to receive link juice from other pages
_
(Matt's precise words were: The nofollow attribute is just a mechanism that gives webmasters the ability to modify PageRank flow at link-level granularity. Plenty of other mechanisms would also work (e.g. a link through a page that is robot.txt'ed out), butnofollow on individual links is simpler for some folks to use. There's no stigma to using nofollow, even on your own internal links; for Google, nofollow'ed links are dropped out of our link graph; we don't even use such links for discovery. By the way, the nofollow meta tag does that same thing, but at a page level.)

[seomoz.org...]

Ive been debating this topic for months and trying out various techniques. One factor that Im still not 100% sure about is the granularity of PR sculpting. You can block a pages in robots.txt but does this have the same effect as nofollowing all the links to that page?

@Shaddows - I agree that relevance is more important then PR but that's a different discussion altogether!

[edited by: tedster at 11:08 pm (utc) on Dec. 10, 2008]
[edit reason] I added the link [/edit]

whitenight




msg:3804337
 3:57 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Any attempt to spread the love of a high ranking page to other less-popular pages is gaming the system...

lol actually I'm perfectly fine "gaming the system"
I won't be losing any sleep over that.

As I've said before, the ALGO is nothing more than a sophisticated MMOG.

You have your strategies for "winning" the game. I have mine.
I happen to know my strategies are techniques that the GAME likes.

And i keep getting "power ups" and "new weapons" by "playing the game" the way the ALGO likes.

Haven't had even my most "shady" sites banned in 5 years and haven't had a whiff of the -950 penalty on ANY sites.

Where's the high scorers board? Am I on it yet? :)

[edited by: whitenight at 3:59 pm (utc) on Dec. 10, 2008]

mattinertia




msg:3804338
 3:58 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Keep your index pagerank high with fewer links leaving it and interlink your articles to help lower category page PR, that's my best advice.

Keep your index pr high? By having less links out from it you are just transferring more pr through fewer links? It wont keep more pr on your index (home) page.

maximillianos




msg:3804341
 3:59 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

By that logic so is any type of link building as that is exactly what we want to achieve!

Which is why I don't waste time "link building". I spend my time developing my site into a more valuable service. If folks want to link to me, great. If not, no big deal. I don't even track my inbound links (yes, laugh away... =) But my site is hugely successful, and has been for over 10 years now. So my strategy works for me...

Sites that are helpful will get links. You don't have to go out and "link build".

Does this mean you do not market? No. I market my pants off. I run Adwords campaigns to get my brand out there, I send out press releases to get new features noticed. But most importantly, I try to offer something of value to visitors so they want to share it with others all on their own.

maximillianos




msg:3804348
 4:01 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

You have your strategies for "winning" the game. I have mine.

Fair enough... ;-)

I'm sure we both do very well in the "game"... ;-)

signor_john




msg:3804357
 4:10 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Nofollow is like cooking with salt.
You have to know where to place it and the effects of it.

Nice analogy.

I use nofollow with things like my privacy-policy page, because it isn't in my interest or in the interest of users for my privacy-policy page to rank in Google. Why would Google want to waste bandwidth by following thousands of links with the anchor text "privacy policy" if the target page isn't going to benefit users who are searching on that term in Google Search?

And on pages with two or more links to the home page (e.g., one at the top of the page, and another in a sidebar), I "nofollow" one of the links in the interests of efficiency. For all I know, Google's crawler may ignore one of the links anyway, but I can't be absolutely sure--and "nofollowing" one of the duplicate links is a way to help Google's crawler find its way through my site without wasting time and bandwidth.

I'm a great believer in common sense, and using nofollow as whitenight suggests--like a chef using salt--sounds like common sease to me.

JS_Harris




msg:3804366
 4:18 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Mattinertia

Keep your index pagerank high with fewer links leaving it and interlink your articles to help lower category page PR, that's my best advice.

Keep your index pr high? By having less links out from it you are just transferring more pr through fewer links? It wont keep more pr on your index (home) page.

An easy assumption to make but wrong. You add PUNCH to each outgoing link that IS there by not DILUTING how many links you're trying to push it through. The index page has x amount of PR to give. More links = less PR going out on each.

edit: The words I should have chosen are "keep your index pr giving ability high and choose your targets wisely."

[edited by: JS_Harris at 4:24 pm (utc) on Dec. 10, 2008]

mattinertia




msg:3804367
 4:19 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Great thread btw! A nice "high brow" SEO discussion for my first venture into the webmasterworld!

Shaddows




msg:3804372
 4:22 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

JS and Matinertia, you are talking at cross-purposes and misunderstanding each other. You're saying broadly the same thing.

Less links does diddly squat for the index ITSELF, but a whole bunch of good for those pages that ARE chosen as beneficiaries (and with proper hierarchy and navigation- for the lower tiers of your site too.)

mattinertia




msg:3804375
 4:26 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Aaah! got ya!

BradleyT




msg:3804376
 4:27 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Why wouldn't you design your site to make efficient use of PR in the first place?

A shopping cart link should be on every page of an e-commerce store for usability. Do you think the shopping cart page should ever show up in the SERPS?

For those that are adamently against PR sculpting I suggest you get one of the SEO add-ons for firefox that show nofollowed links. Everyone and their brother are nofollowing internal links these days.

pageoneresults




msg:3804401
 4:51 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

A shopping cart link should be on every page of an e-commerce store for usability. Do you think the shopping cart page should ever show up in the SERPS?

No. And usually, it sits under https which is blocked via robots.txt or is blocked via a robots meta element at the page level.

For those that are adamently against PR sculpting I suggest you get one of the SEO add-ons for firefox that show nofollowed links. Everyone and their brother are nofollowing internal links these days.

Only those who know SEO. I'm sure use of the nofollow attribute was Google's way of finding most, if not all of the SEO wantabes. If you are using it for anything other than what it was originally intended for, I say there are some associated risks.

So, to avoid the risks, why not just do it at the page level with a robots meta element or even an X-Robots-Tag which would cause those viewing source to wonder why the page didn't have PR or whatever.

whitenight




msg:3804407
 5:02 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm sure use of the nofollow attribute was Google's way of finding most, if not all of the SEO wantabes.

lol you're just saying this right?

I could see you saying this when it first came out ala the EFV thread debate we had over 2 years ago, but NOW?

The most well-respected, all-authority, juggernauts use rel=nofollow AT LEAST on a few pages.

If you are using it for anything other than what it was originally intended for, I say there are some associated risks.

I agree here. I see far too many people using it to "sculpt" who have little clue what they are doing.

We even had an "accident" story in the last update thread.

Potentially dangerous, but in the right hands. It's simply poetic.

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